London Spitfire 3 - San Francisco Shock 2
The London Spitfire took a 3-2 victory against the San Francisco Shock during Overwatch League play on Thursday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
The Spitfire has been in a downward spiral since the start of Stage 3, so it was a shock to see London take the first two maps of this series against a much-improved San Francisco squad. Both map wins can effectively be attributed to DPS Kim "Birdring" Ji-hyeok, who consistently made huge plays as Widowmaker and handed the Spitfire victories on Blizzard World and Hanamura.
The Spitfire still showed plenty of coordination issues, but having Birdring back from injury to carry this team is a huge step up.
The Shock didn't play well early on, which enabled Birdring to perform so well. San Francisco wasn't coordinated and appeared to choke in high-tension moments. Players like DPS Jay "sinatraa" Won and Park "Architect" Min-ho did well against the Spitfire and would almost close out a point, but the Shock always seemed to lose the fight at the last second during the first half.
Whether it was a mistimed ultimate or ignoring London DPS Park "Profit" Joon-yeong's playmaking ability on Brigitte, the Shock made plenty of mistakes early but battled back in the second half.
In taking both Oasis and Dorado from London, San Francisco turned the tables; it was the Spitfire's turn to choke in overtime. The series would normally have ended on Dorado with a London win, since it's one of London's best maps. Despite Birdring taking four kills with a well-executed Dragonblade, however, the rest of the team still couldn't secure a victory.
On the decisive fifth map, Nepal, London seemed to shake itself out of its funk. The Spitfire had a healthy ultimate economy and coordinated with one another, and it didn't look as though Birdring was playing alone anymore. London is still in a good spot in the season standings, but Thursday's victory is a positive step toward fending off other teams rising in the standings and actually contending when the playoffs come around.
The Shock take on the Houston Outlaws at 11 p.m. ET on Friday night. The Spitfire, however, will have another chance to prove itself against a tough opponent in the Seoul Dynasty at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Steven Nguyen
Los Angeles Gladiators 4 - Florida Mayhem 0
The Los Angeles Gladiators breezed past the Florida Mayhem in a 4-0 sweep on Thursday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
The Mayhem might have had strokes of greatness in this match, but those moments were fleeting in comparison to the trouncing it took at the hands of Los Angeles all throughout this series. Kevyn "TviQ" Lindstrom and Ha "Sayaplayer" Jeong-woo continue to be a solid DPS duo for Florida, yet they could not withstand the overwhelming pressure of the Gladiators on Thursday.
With flex tank Kang "Void" Jun-woo finally in the lineup for the Gladiators, LA now has a solid rotation of tank players that can carry on any given map. Whether it's Void racking up highlight reel plays on Zarya, Aaron "Bischu" Kim holding it down on D.Va, or Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung hard-carrying the Gladiators with Winston or Reinhardt, this trio is looking as deadly as ever here in Stage 4.
It surely doesn't hurt that both Lane "Surefour" Roberts and João Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles both took turns dominating with a slew of DPS heroes on every map. While LA had to push at the last moments to secure victory on just about every map, it was the sheer number of weapons that the Gladiators wielded that was the difference in the end.
Meanwhile, the Mayhem still continues to struggle in some fairly major ways. The DPS core can certainly hold its own, but the Florida supports leave much to be desired. Florida's deficiencies, especially that of the team's Mercy player, Sebastian "Zebbosai" Olsson, were most clear on Hanamura, where the supports couldn't keep the tanks topped off on attack. As a result, the Gladiators worked with a massive health advantage that allowed it to turn the tide of fights with ease. If Florida's supports can't get on the same level as the rest of team, wins will continue to be hard to come by for the Mayhem.
Florida will have some time to readjust before it takes on the Seoul Dynasty at 9 p.m. ET next Friday, while Los Angeles will look ahead to a cross-town showdown with the Los Angeles Valiant at 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
-- Wyatt Donigan
Philadelphia Fusion 4 - Shanghai Dragons 0
The Philadelphia Fusion took out the Shanghai Dragons with a 4-0 victory on Thursday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Throughout all four stages thus far in the Overwatch League, Shanghai has yet to win a series. The Fusion, on the other hand, has been a playoff-level team that's currently on course to reach the stage playoffs for the second time this season.
Needless to say, these teams were playing on an entirely different level throughout this one-sided stomp.
The series did have one close map on Oasis, where Fusion DPS Josue "Eqo" Corona had a rough time on Pharah and his fellow DPS Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok was oddly quiet to start. The main difference-maker on Shanghai was hands-down DPS star player Le "Diya" Weida, who popped off on Widowmaker and very clearly shut down Eqo during the Oasis tilt. Fortunately for Philly, though, Carpe finally woke up after the Dragons took the first point, and he scored some important frags on the Shanghai supports that gave Philly the edge.
Despite the clear skill-gap, both teams seemed very comfortable with the Stage 4 meta and demonstrated that they can play the new hero, Brigitte, in multiple compositions. This bodes well for the Dragons as it looks forward to its future matchups and potentially its first win.
The Dragons will look to take out the New York Excelsior at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, while the Fusion square off against the Dallas Fuel at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.
-- Tyson Tavolazzi